Category Archives: crime

The Tigger’s 2015 in review: stats and more

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Now at the start of the year I made some a series of reasons why people should read this blog so that I could gain 1000 followers. I now have 385 that read this blog directly; 29 read through Tumblr; and 985 see my book reviews through my FaceBook page – https://www.facebook.com/elayne.coakes which does have other stuff on it too.

So what I said was:

  1. I don’t blog a lot about my health and moan about my family or the state of the union or be vehement about my politics or… I blog about a variety of subject matters that interest me and hopefully you, some of which, especially as the majority of my followers are from the US, may be unfamiliar to you;
  2. I write good grammatical English (UK spelling), properly punctuated, and I know how to use the apostrophe. I don’t usually write in stream of consciousness mode but nice precise paragraphs.
  3. I write about a good variety of subjects so you are very likely to find something to interest you in them  – from flowers and gardens, to crafts, to travel, to – in particular – books. Illustrated by my husband’s excellent photographs. As a European I get to a lot of countries you may wish to visit in Europe, but also have been to many more exotic locations such as China and India and these are  described here. More still to come on past adventures, but this year I shall be flying out to Boston and New York and cruising back on the Queen Mary 2; and also Ireland later in the summer for sure. [Sorry, 2015 has been dominated by books but still I did cover other items, and shall try to do better in 2016]
  4. I read a lot of books and write informative and well researched reviews that don’t give the plot away and are not summaries. There is no plot synopsis but a comment that will be relevant to the subject matter and will inform. [2015:This is absolutely still true and will continue to be so]
  5. If I can get over 1000 followers, I will be authorised by more publishers on the NetGalley site which means I will get to read yet more books that are just being published, and more books by new authors you may not yet have heard of. I shall endeavour to keep up the interviews with them that I have recently started. [2015:I now have at least one author interview a month, sometimes more, and I am recognised by several publishers as shown by my widgets including being in the Brash Priority Reveiwer’s Circle]

 Here are details of 2014’s activity to compare to this year’s:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

The busiest day of the year was January 21st with 75 views. The most popular post that day was Feminism? Vegetarianism? Linked or not?. In 2014, there were 60 new posts.

Click here to see the complete report. for 2015.

And do please comment and come and read more posts!

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Scarlet Women: An author explains

 

An interview with:

Scarlet Risque 

 author of:

Red Hour Glass

  1. Can you tell your readers something about why you chose this particular topic to write about? What appealed to you about it? Why do you think it is different and your approach is unique?

The Hourglass series is a sociopolitical discourse about capitalism and how top down decisions affects the lives of ordinary people. I am fascinated with financial centers and major property acquisition players. My approach is unique as I do not state the obvious but let the reader decide what is obvious to them.

  1. How long do you think about a topic before deciding to write about it? Do you have a set of notes or a note book where you write down topics that appeal before making a decision as to which topic this time?

The Red Hourglass took four years to write and I was actively writing the book in five different countries. I research different topics that interest me on a daily basis through a combination of Wikipedia, news, YouTube, books and talking to people who are in similar positions or characteristics to those I write of.

I visited New York twice (2011 and 2013) and wrote the subway scenes by spending a long time observing homeless people begging for change. It was a novelty to me, and I was immediately drawn to that. I wrote the first scene of the White Queen finding Mary in the subway back in 2011 as I was inspired by the subway stations of New York City when I first visited.


  1. How long does it take to research a topic before you write? And for this book?

I believe that we write based on what we know over a period of many years and try to condense it in a novel form that is easy and enjoyable to read. Most of the research literature I read are academic and non fiction, they hold no interest to most people.

I wanted to write something I would love to read and still have something to think about. I prefer reading books that allows me to question and find out more answers for myself. In this sense, I try to do just that.

  1. What resources do you use? In general and for the last book that you wrote?

Interviews with famous actors on YouTube is my favourite resource as I can play back and study their word choices and way of thinking, to get into their “heads”.

  1. How helpful do you find authority figures such as the police when you say you want to write about them? Is there a good way to approach them in your experience?

I would prefer to casually chat with anyone no matter what their position or authority as they give inspiration to different things. I don’t believe in stereotyping. A good way to approach someone is always to get a referral from a friend who knows that person, so that he would speak as naturally as possible instead of putting a professional front. I prefer the realness to my character development sketches. I don’t sketch my characters just based on one person but a few different people usually.

  1. How many times have you been rejected before your first novel was accepted or before this book was accepted?

I went directly for self publishing.


  1. Did you need to self-publish on e-books before a publisher took you up?

Above answer.

  1. Would you recommend self-publishing and building an audience before approaching a publisher? If so, what benefits do you see that it might have for the aspiring novelist?

I haven’t reached this stage yet, it is something to consider to reach a different target market. It would really depend. From where I am at, most physical book stores and music shops had closed down as they are unable to meet the rent. I believe the trend is towards virtual publication and virtual outreach.

  1. Does writing provide sufficient income to live on? And how long did it take before this happened?

Definitely not. My previous income was much higher as I used to do consultancy. I felt dead inside. Despite the external achievements and materialistic acquistions, it gave me no sense of fulfillment. I gave up my shadow life to pursue writing. I had cut back on my expenses and traveling. Some rewards cannot be measured in monetary terms. I used to dread waking up, but since I turned full time as an artist, I wake up before my alarm and I feel energised to take on the world. I receieve fan mails daily and I feel that is the greatest reward that my work has impacted others.

  1. What is the funniest thing that happened to you on a book tour?

I am on a YouTube “book tour” at the moment on my own channel. I am surrounded by my Knights and minions. What is funny is one of my Knights commented he was waiting for me to do a Sharon Stone Basic Instinct move by crossing my legs. But I didn’t. Haha!
Red Hourglass Available Now: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Kobo International, Barnes and Noble
Weekly YouTube Episodes: The Scarlet Queen YouTube

Follow Scarlet Risque: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, Amazon, Wattpad
Website: http://thescarletqueen.com

 Red-Hourglass-3D

Scarlet Risque Releases Her New Romantic Thriller: Red Hourglass

Singapore – A POWERFUL, MYSTERIOUS woman finds a homeless girl in a New York subway and adopts her. Janet swears loyalty to the White family and they train her at their Academy as a secret agent. Before long, her transformation into the Red Hourglass—an assassin—is complete. She is ready to start her missions in service of the White Queen.

In order to learn the whereabouts of her real mother from the White Queen, the Red Hourglass must stop the planned expansion of Wilmar Enterprises. She goes undercover to infiltrate Wilmar, and she is hired as the executive secretary to the Chief of Security, Conan Casey.

Janet works diligently to uncover all Wilmar’s secrets. She soon learns that Conan Casey, her target, is heir to the billion dollar Wilmar organization. She falls prey to his dark seductions and twisted secrets … and they leave her gasping for more.

About the book:
Red Hourglass by Scarlet Risque
ASIN: B0179EKC70
Publisher: ScarletCorp
Date of publish: October 2015
Pages: 249
S.R.P.: $0.99

About the author:
Scarlet Risqué stars in Scarlet Queen YouTube with over a million views. She is the author of the Hourglass (Romance/Thriller) Series. She holds a degree in business. She uses writing, dance, and theater to explore her dark and light desires. She’s a poetic soul where pain and pleasure meet and East collides with West. She is passionate about traveling, dancing and kink. She loves her cat and crystal collection.

Each book in the Hourglass Series has a female lead searching for her identity and truth in today’s world. Set against a backdrop of globalization, these stories of intrigue and espionage are full of undercover agents and themes of dominance and submission.

 

Magical Libraries are the Flavour

Magical Libraries seem to be popping out everywhere I look.

First we have the Library of all books that I have already reviewed – The British Library on Steroids -, and then you have a complete series of books about a Lost Library of magical texts by Kate Baray – the 4th being called A Witch’s Diary -and now I find there is also a TV series about a Library under New York (but not really – more like in hyperspace), which is magic, with not only the first editions of every book ever published, but also a number of magical items. So it is a cross between all the libraries with Warehouse 51 thrown in for good measure!

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Just who is copycatting whom I start to wonder here? Or have some TV producers and book editors found themselves on a bar one night and started discussing how cool it would be to have magical library? Who knows, but here we are with competing books and a TV series too.

The TV series is OK but not 5 star. I can take it or leave it, but it is a bit of fun and the characters aren’t bad. It is just too reminiscent of the Warehouse series to be really exceptional.

The most interesting of the new items is the library that was lost but is now found and which contains magical texts which very few people can read. It was un-catalogued and in multiple actual languages, and the books are magically protected so that only the ‘right’ person can read them. And for some books that also means only the right person who knows and likes other ‘right’ people… confusing ain’t it?

I read the first 4 books of the Lost Library series straight off. It now seems to have become a habit with me. If the first in a series interests me, then i read the rest. But the first has to be of 5 star quality. It is just such a shame though that if the first book is a 5 star none of the rest are. So far that has been my experience. However, i still found them 4 star and thus I am ready and waiting to read the next in the series!

Can you escape Reality?

Escaping Reality (The Secret Life of Amy Bensen, #1) 
by Lisa Renee Jones 

Can you truly ever escape your past? If someone wants you dead? Because you know a secret that could rock the fabric of the world? But you don’t remember it…

What a cliff hanger! You just have to buy the next book to find out what happens to Amy and why.
But then you find out there are 3 more books – so you buy all 3... So Amazon wins again and you read all 3 one after each other, thus breaking your promise to yourself not to be distracted from your (ever growing) list of books to read from NetGalley and also direct from publishers and authors!
So Amy and Lara it seems are the same person and Amy clearly suffers from PTSD with severe headaches, blackouts, amnesia and yet also flashbacks.
The NHS and the charity MIND tells us that sufferers can have:
•	flashbacks
•	nightmares
•	repetitive and distressing images or sensations
•	physical sensations – such as pain, sweating, nausea or trembling Some people have constant negative thoughts about their experience, repeatedly asking themselves questions that prevent them from coming to terms with the event.
For example, they may wonder why the event happened to them and if they could have done anything to stop it, which can lead to feelings of guilt or shame.
They may also suffer from hyperarousal being very anxious and easily startled. They may have an extreme alertness and may repress the memories of the event.
It is clear from the descriptions of Amy in the book that she is a classic case and her repression of her memories means that she doesn’t know who is trying to kill her, only that someone is. And this is real and not an imagined threat as they have already set fire to her house and killed her family. Locked in her memory are the reasons for this and the nightmares and flashbacks gradually reveal what she has locked away.
All the fleeing from towns and fake identities required to keep her out of harm, means that Amy doesn’t trust easily – and being unable to form deep relationships is also a symptom of PTSD.  Who can she trust? And who is lying to her? And why would they want to hurt her? What does she know that is so dangerous? Which leads to some interesting ideas in the sex scenes as S&M requires trust in your partner in order to participate – and a mild ’50 Shades of Grey’ appears on these pages. Luckily for me, just a mild version as this is just so not my scene and I personally think that it is not a useful behaviour to indulge in despite its popularity.
So book 1 finishes and book 2 starts and then book 3 and by now the twists and turns and unexpected events and people’s allegiances apparently – or not – changing leaves you beginning to be confused as to who you – or Amy for that matter – can believe. Everyone seems to be lying.
So if you read the series, don’t think you know the end outcome as you don’t. Every book takes the story in a different direction and the people change their ‘coats’ as often as you change your underwear – maybe even more often!
Definitely 4 stars.

Pop in, Pop out and go Pop!

PoP Travel

by

Tara Tyler

This is the first book in a series by Tara Tyler. She gave the book to me to read after I obtained the second book in NetGalley for review and suggested I read this first as it sets the scene. And what a scene it is…

Here we see how we will travel in the future. As in Star trek we will be using transporters that break us down into our essential atoms and then put us back together again – hopefully, with everything in the right place! There were a few accidents it is true when they were trying to perfect the concept but now-a-days it was no problem. Or so everyone thought and happily popped around the world time after time after time – much more frequently than was recommended it was true, but then it was all safe – wasn’t it?Star-Trek-Transporter

But some people have doubts. And so does our hero Cooper after he meets Phisner and starts to investigate his missing sister. And then there is the hot agent who is supposed to stop Cooper but…

I really enjoyed reading this story – it ‘popped’ along at a good pace with some interesting concepts in it, even tough one must say not necessarily new ideas. And of course, the conspiracy buffs will have all their fears recognised here, and I do love a good conspiracy myself.

The writing was fresh and clean and accessible. We weren’t overwhelmed with jargon and science as such a book could have done, but were told just enough to understand the theory and principles.

So worth a read and I’m giving it 4 stars. I shall read the next book Simulation shortly and look forward to it.

Play ball with me

Hail Storme

by W.I. Ripley

A NetGalley Review

The characters just rip up a storm in this book – literally and figuratively – all puns intended..

This is the first book in the Storme series and as such introduces you to the characters of Wyatt Storme and here, his mysterious buddy Chick, who claims to be just a skip tracer but turns out to be something more, and really has such useful skills I hope he stays for the rest of the series.

As the first novel in a series it is set not that long after the Vietnam War or Second Indochina War, 1954–1973 (or what did the US call it? They certainly didn’t admit that their soldiers were at war – just supporting or advising?). In any event it left significant numbers of Vets as they began to be called traumatised and with PTSD – often unrecognised – which left them liable to nightmares and flashbacks that hindered their ability to maintain a successful life outside the military after returning home. This fact is still not always admitted.

Over 20 years, more than 58,000 Americans were killed in Vietnam and more than 150,000 were wounded. Yet the US were not the only troops fighting – we hear little about the Australians, the New Zealanders and the South Koreans who also fought.

Public opinion was initially in favour of the intervention and thus the majority of those fighting volunteered rather than were drafted and this included those in minority races as well as white Americans.

Here are some facts – not too many though:

  • 9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the official Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.
  • 2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam.
  • Vietnam Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation.
  • 8,148 soldiers were killed in Vietnam.
    • 75,000 were severely disabled.
    • 23,214 were 100% disabled.
    • 5,283 lost limbs.
    • 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.
    • Of those killed, 61% were younger than 21.
    • 11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old.
    • Of those killed, 17,539 were married.
    • Average age of men killed: 23.1 years.
    • Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.
    • The oldest man killed was 62 years old.
    • As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

So Wyatt Storme came back from the war and made a career in American Football which seems to be a very rough sport indeed from the tactics her learnt to subdue opponents. but the violence on the field became too comfortable and led to a lifestyle that is all too common amongst the rich and famous. Eventually however, he realises that his football tactics are emulating his fighting in the Vietnam War tactics far too freely and gives up his career – with the usual footballer injuries of course.

He is still full of testosterone and chivalry it seems and can’t let a wrong go un-righted and so gets involved where others would not in a local dispute that ends up with people dying. “People talk about what they want and who they are: few are concerned with duty and responsibility – the things we must do to be what we are.”

I did enjoy this book and read it very quickly – within 24 hours as the style is easy and uncomplicated and you did want to find out just what was going on and who was involved and who was the goody and who the baddy – and this seemed to change as you read on.

I did bookmark the stuff about male clothes in this book as there seemed to be a fascination with what people wore: oxblood loafers came up several times – which seems to be a shade of red that is popular; not sure why Haggar slacks/pants are mentioned as they are a style of trouser that is very casual and rather baggy but add in the oxford cloth shirt and you have a preppy style that is very popular in the US. Florsheim shoes are also still available and again a very classic look.

London Fog raincoats – or trench coats are not sold in the UK but seem again to be a very traditional style. It is interesting that although this book was first published in 1993, the clothing ranges are still current – in the US, I doubt if they would be in the UK. Now I just was fascinated by Gglen plaidlen Plaid and so found myself a photo of it:

Not forgetting that the Rep or Repp tie is again a preppy essential – the diagonal striped tie.rep tie

 

Flying in the Sky?

A Witness Above

 

By  Andy Straka

 

A Netgalley review

 

These books just keep getting better.

So unless you really need to read all the back story, I don’t suggest you start here with the very first novel in this series.

I didn’t. and I’m really glad, I guessed all that was necessary from what was written in the book I did read. However, don’t let me stop you reading these books in order – it is often the best tactic .

This is an author who has learnt his trade as he has written and published.

His main character is fairly stock – especially in this first novel but with one great unusual characteristic – he flies hawks – taken from the author’s own passion. And in A Witness Above, we don’t hear enough about the hawks – for me. Which is why I prefer the later book which I have already reviewed (A Killing Sky on the 20th August on my blog: Tiggerrenewing).

So just 3 stars for this early novel, but then I find that authors with series generally fall into two categories:

  1. Those who start with a great bang and the subsequent books are more and more disappointing as they run out of storylines; or
  2. Those who start more modestly and improve steadily with each book written – their skills as story-tellers increase and they learn more about the 5 stages of classical story-telling and fit their characters better into them. This author falls into this category – I think.